19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.
We’ve made our way “around the horn” on the infield and have arrived at our final position there: third base. Ducks fans have been able to watch several outstanding players man the hot corner for the Flock over the past 19 seasons. Third base has seen its share of sluggers, stout defenders, former Major Leaguers and those seeking to reach “The Show” for the first time. Our three nominees for the coveted third base slot on the 20th Anniversary Team account for a mixture of all those attributes. While there are many deserving candidates for the role, here is the trio eligible for selection:
Throughout the history of the Long Island Ducks, a total of 18 players have reached the Major Leagues after playing with the Flock. The first-ever to accomplish the feat was third baseman Carlos Baerga. His time on Long Island was short, as he played with the Ducks only in 2001. Prior to that, he had spent 10 seasons in the big leagues, making him one of the most experienced and well-known players to sign with the club to that point. The veteran made an immediate impact in his 53 games played, compiling a .315 batting average and a .383 on-base percentage. Baerga totaled nine homers, 44 RBIs, 38 runs, 64 hits, and 19 walks to just 24 strikeouts in that span. His numbers were worthy of an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection. MLB teams took notice of his performance, and by December of 2001, he had signed with the Boston Red Sox with the chance to make the club in spring training. Sure enough, he spent all of 2002 with the Boston Red Sox and would go on to play three additional seasons in “The Show” after that.
Our second nominee for third base came to the Ducks with just one year of MLB experience, playing with the Red Sox in 2002. However, he had a pair of stints with the Ducks and forged a brilliant Atlantic League career. Bryant Nelson first joined the Flock in 2007 after beginning the year in the Mexican League and after making his ALPB debut with Bridgeport in 2006. He would bat .268 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 77 games, earning another opportunity in Mexico to begin 2008. “Nellie” returned to the Ducks to play 14 games at the end of the 2008 regular season. After going on to spend time over the next three years with three separate Atlantic League teams (Camden, Lancaster and York), he rejoined the Flock for their back-to-back championship seasons of 2012 and 2013. Nelson was a big part of both titles, playing over 120 games, collecting over 70 RBIs, totaling over 135 hits, scoring 72 runs, and hitting 30 doubles in each season. One of the most clutch players in team history, his biggest moment came in Game Five of the 2012 Liberty Division Championship Series when his eighth inning two-run homer sent Bethpage Ballpark into a frenzy and sent the Ducks to the Atlantic League Championship Series for a second consecutive season. Nelson earned an All-Star Game selection in 2013 as well before hitting .278 during the Ducks championship run that year.
Though his Ducks career began at second base, Cody Puckett shifted over to the hot corner shortly thereafter and went on to forge a five-year career thus far with the Flock. Puckett manned second base while Chris McClendon and Brendan Harris played third in 2014, but a year later, he became the full-time third baseman and has been there since. The California native’s first three seasons were a model of consistency in a Ducks uniform, as he played over 120 games, hit over .270 and scored over 60 runs in each. Puckett was selected as an Atlantic League All-Star in 2015 and helped lead Long Island to a postseason berth that same year as well as a Liberty Division championship in 2016. His career took a hit though in 2017 after suffering a season-ending knee injury in late-May, but his work ethic and never-give-up attitude came into the spotlight thereafter. Through a dedication to rehab and training, Puckett was able to earn a spot on the 2018 Ducks roster out of spring training and spent a full, healthy season on Long Island that year. In his five seasons with the Flock, Puckett has totaled 529 hits, 252 RBIs, 238 runs, 79 doubles, and a .270 batting average in 514 games.
You’ve learned all about our nominees, and now you get to make your voice heard. Head on over to our voting page to make your pick for the third baseman on our 20th Anniversary Team. Vote early and vote often over the course of this next week to help determine the player that is a cut above the rest. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!
Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our three nominees for the left field position.
GAME TIME/LOCATION: 11:05 a.m. CST (12:05 p.m. EST) at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, TX).
TODAY’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (14-9) begin a four-game set against the Sugar Land Skeeters (13-11) of the Freedom Division.
SUNDAY’S RESULT: The Ducks were defeated by a score of 5-3 in the final game of a four-game set against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
Zach Wilson started the scoring in the top of the third as he doubled to score Gary Brown, and Jamar Walton singled to score Wilson. Southern Maryland had that 2-0 lead until Long Island responded in the bottom of the fourth, as Lew Ford doubled off of Blue Crabs starter Brian Burres to score Dan Lyons. The game would be scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning, as Mike Blanke would score on a passed ball to tie the game at two. Later in the inning, Dan Lyons would hit an infield single to shortstop, moving Fehlandt Lentini to third. Lyons would take second and Lentini would come in to score on a throwing error by Steve Lombardozzi. Southern Maryland struck again in the top of the eighth, adding three more runs against Amalio Diaz. Bryant Nelson worked a bases-loaded walk, and Angel Flores hit a two-run single up the middle, putting Southern Maryland in the lead for good.
It was a pitcher’s duel in the early innings. Bobby Blevins (1-1) pitched very well for the Ducks, pitching a full six innings, allowing only two runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. His counterpart, Burres, was just as good, going six and one-third innings, giving up two runs, four hits and three walks, while striking out five. Justin Berg (1-3) was given the win, pitching one and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up one run (unearned) on three hits, with two strikeouts. Diaz (1-1) was given the loss, pitching one-third of an inning and allowing three runs on four hits, one walk, and one strikeout. Cody Eppley (1-0) earned the save with a clean ninth, adding one strikeout.
ON THE MOUND: Jack Snodgrass (3-1) will pitch for the Ducks this afternoon. Snodgrass has been excellent so far this season, and has been on fire lately, scoring wins in each of his past three starts. Most recently against the Somerset Patriots (May 11), Snodgrass pitched an even six innings, with 12 total strikeouts (career high), just two shy of the franchise record.
The Skeeters will look to Bryan Morgado (1-3) to right the ship for Sugar Land as they have lost their past two games and the Freedom Division lead. Morgado struggled in his first two starts, giving up nine runs (eight earned) in nine total innings, but he has shown improvement in his past two starts, getting his first win of the season against the New Britain Bees on May 5, and taking a tough-luck loss against the Bridgeport Bluefish on May 11.
FOLLOW ALONG: Today’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Fans can follow the broadcast with live streaming audio online by CLICKING HERE. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of today’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.
DUCKS GAME NOTES: For today’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#32 Tyler Colvin – 1B
#25 Sean Burroughs – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#15 Ruben Gotay – 3B
#29 Mike Dowd – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#39 Jack Snodgrass LHP
#26 Jeff Dominguez – CF
#2 Ricky Hague – 2B
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#10 Kent Matthes – RF
#29 Jeremy Barfield – LF
#25 Andy LaRoche – DH
#6 Patrick Palmiero – 3B
#4 Beamer Weems – SS
#5 Wilfredo Rodriguez – C
#14 Bryan Morgado
UPDATE (12:39) – TOP 1: Ducks get one as Fehlandt Lentini scores on a two out single from Tyler Colvin!
UPDATE (12:43) – BOT 1: Skeeters get three on a big home run for Jeremy Barfield. They lead it 3-1.
UPDATE (12:57) – TOP 2: Anthony Vega’s ground out brings in Cody Puckett! Skeeters lead 3-2.
UPDATE (1:10) – TOP 3: Lew Ford comes in on a passed ball to tie the game at three!
UPDATE (1:23) – BOT 3: Skeeters hit two home runs to bring in three. Sugar Land leads 6-3.
UPDATE (1:45) – TOP 4: Ducks bring in four! Ford, and Colvin pick up an RBI, and two passed balls count for the runs!
UPDATE (2:30) –BOT 7: Skeeters get two more. LaRoche’s triple started the rally, and Sugar Land leads this one 8-7.
UPDATE: (3:21) – FINAL: The Sugar Land Skeeters win this one 8-7. The Ducks and Skeeters face off in a single-admission double-header tomorrow night.
Welcome back Ducks fans! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and want to wish you all a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping that 2015 will bring us all many great memories, exciting baseball and our fourth Atlantic League championship.
Today, Major League Baseball unveiled the voting results for this year’s Hall of Fame nominees. Four players were voted in this year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, including Long Island native Craig Biggio and pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. All four are deserving candidates, and we here at “Quack of the Bat” would like to pass along our congratulations to this fine class.
The selections also got us thinking today. Although the Atlantic League does not yet have a Hall of Fame, there have certainly been several great Ducks players from the first 15 seasons in franchise history who would be worthy of selection. Circumstances in this case are a bit different, being that the league has only been around for 17 seasons and that most players do not stick in the league for long stretches. However, a case can be made for several players in Atlantic League history to be voted into a league Hall of Fame, many of whom are Ducks.
The criteria for what would be considered “Hall of Fame worthy” is something that could be heavily debated. From the amount of games played to championships/awards won to home run, win and strikeout totals, the numbers are not as well-defined as in Major League Baseball. So, let us know what you think the criteria should be for an Atlantic Leaguer to be selected to the Hall.
Over the course of the Atlantic League’s 17-year history, there have been many players who have become such strong representatives of the league based on their time spent in it and their play on the field. Some of the sluggers that come to mind immediately are Jeff Nettles, who played for nine seasons with the Somerset Patriots, and Josh Pressley, who donned a Patriots uniform for five years before spending two with Sugar Land. As for hurlers on the mound, guys like Corey Thurman, who has started for seven seasons with the York Revolution, and Ross Peeples, who has played an astounding 10 years with the Lancaster Barnstormers would also garner strong consideration. Which other Atlantic Leaguers, outside of the Ducks, do you feel deserve to be in a league Hall of Fame?
This past summer, the Ducks unveiled their 15th Anniversary Team, as voted on by the fans. The top player at each position was chosen by fans to be a part of this special group. For a quick refresher, here is who was chosen:
Catcher – Francisco Morales
First Base – Doug Jennings
Second Base – Ray Navarrete
Shortstop – Dan Lyons
Third Base – Bryant Nelson
Outfielder – Justin Davies
Outfielder – Lew Ford
Outfielder – Kimera Bartee
Designated Hitter – Patrick Lennon
Left-Handed Starter – Randy Leek
Right-Handed Starter – John Brownell
Reliever – Joe Valentine
Closer – Bill Simas
Manager – Kevin Baez
Final Vote – Mike Loree
Of those 15, who do you feel deserves to be in an Atlantic League Hall of Fame donning a Ducks cap? While you think about you selections, our blog team will give you ours:
His name has become one of the most synonymous with the Atlantic League of any player to have played in the league. He spent eight seasons with the Ducks from 2006-13 (and a brief stint with Somerset in 2005) and put together some of the best seasons in league history. He played in 863 games, amassed 963 hits, launched 137 home runs, drove in 548 runs, scored 599 runs and collected 245 doubles while with the Flock, all team records. He is one of only two players in league history with over 1,000 hits, joining Nettles. He won the Atlantic League Player of the Year Award in 2009, earned five All-Star Game selections and capped off his career with two Atlantic League championships. What more could you want in a Hall of Famer?
Jennings certainly checks off the longevity aspect of Hall of Fame selection. He spent six seasons with the Ducks from 2000-05 and also spent his first season in the Atlantic League with Newark in 1999. In those seven seasons, he played in a total of 405 games and had double digit home run totals in five of them. His bread and butter though was getting on base, and Jennings posted an on-base percentage over .350 in six of his seven seasons, including two over .500! The numbers offensively are there for Jennings, and he has an Atlantic League championship from 2004 to go with it.
Ford’s career in the Atlantic League has not officially come to an end just yet, but his five seasons so far with the Ducks have been extraordinary. He lacks a bit in the games played department, having only played in 341 contests. However, a big reason for that was because he was signed by the Orioles early in 2012 and remained with them until late in 2013. In addition, the fact that he’s among a select group to have made it back to the Major Leagues after playing in the Atlantic League lines up with the ideals for which the league was created. In addition, despite the shortage in games played, he is the only player in league history to appear in each and every one during a 140-game season, and he did so during his most recent season of play. In his 341 games, Ford has been a wrecking force at the plate, compiling a .337 batting average which is a franchise record. In addition, he’s totaled 216 RBI, 261 runs, 439 hits and 95 doubles. As for awards, he was an Atlantic League All-Star and Player of the Year this past season, and he’s got himself a pair of championship rings. Oh, and did we mention his Atlantic League career has not yet officially ended?
Nelson has been a member of the Atlantic League for each of the past nine seasons, so his longevity in the league is near the top. The greater debate might be which team’s cap he would don in the Hall. He’s spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks, two with York, two with Camden, one with Lancaster and one with Bridgeport. His best statistical single season came with Lancaster in 2010, when he batted .288 with 22 homers, 91 RBI, 158 hits and 84 runs, earning an All-Star selection. However, he’s won two championships with the Ducks as well and was an All-Star choice in 2013. His total numbers with the Flock weren’t too shabby either, combining to bat .274 with 32 homers, 197 RBI, 197 runs and 73 doubles in 343 games. For his Atlantic League career, he is one game shy of 800 and 123 hits shy of 1,000. Nelson’s been a consistent contributor in the league and, in this blogger’s opinion, should be considered for a Hall of Fame.
Like Ford, Morales didn’t play in the Atlantic League for long, but he certainly made an impact when he did. The backstop spent three seasons with the Ducks from 2000-02 and a year in Camden. During that four-year stint, he appeared in 478 games, an average of nearly 120 per season. In addition, he hit over 20 homers in each season with the Flock and added 10 with Camden for a grand total of 73 longballs. Among his other stats were 513 hits, 312 RBI, 259 runs and 88 doubles. He was an Atlantic League All-Star twice with the Ducks (2000, 02), but he ultimately never won an Atlantic League title. His offensive prowess was clearly demonstrated while in the Atlantic League, but his shortened length in the league and lack of ring makes his selection less of a guarantee.
What do you think of our selections Ducks fans? Should we include any others? Should we remove any that we have chosen? Where would you put an Atlantic League Hall of Fame? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on this post.
Sunday afternoon baseball returns the Duck Pond today, as the Ducks complete a three-game series with the Camden Riversharks. It is Sunday Family Funday at Bethpage Ballpark, meaning there will be an autograph session with the entire team on the field prior to the game. In addition, kids and kids at heart are welcome to run the bases on the field after the game. Also, the Ducks, in conjunction with Long Island Cares, Inc. and the Harry Chapin Food Bank, are hosting a food drive today. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the ballpark for donation.
Yesterday, the Ducks split a single-admission doubleheader with the Camden Riversharks. Camden took game one 6-4, and the Ducks responded a 6-4 victory in game two. The ‘Sharks jumped out to an early 5-1 lead through four innings in game one off Ducks starter Fernando Hernandez. A three-run fifth inning pulled the Flock to within one run, but Camden added an unearned run in the sixth to cap the scoring off at 6-4.
In game two, it was Camden once again who led early in the ballgame. After both teams exchanged zeroes through the first three innings, the Riversharks scored three times in the fourth, all with two outs, to chase Jared Lansford from his second start and take a 3-0 lead. Long Island tied the score at 3-3 in the fifth on an error by Riversharks second baseman Wilson Batista and a pair of two-out RBI doubles from Cody Puckett and Lew Ford. Camden regained a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, only to have Joash Brodin crush a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to provide Long Island with its first lead of the night and the eventual game winning hit.
CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Saturdays twinbill, listen to the audio highlights from both games and hear from Kevin Baez and Brodin postgame.
With the split, the Ducks remain at .500 (10-10) on the season, while the Riversharks fell to 6-16. Long Island currently sits in third place in the Liberty Division, 2.5 games behind the Somerset Patriots.
Today, right-handed starter John Brownell gets the start for the Ducks. Brownell is 1-2 this year with a 5.04 ERA, 21 strikeouts and just three walks in 25 innings of work. Last year, Brownell was 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in four starts against the Riversharks. He will face off today with Camden southpaw Jay Voss. Voss enters with a 0-2 record and a 2.28 ERA. In four starts, Voss has received a total of just five runs of support. That includes a no-decision in his last start despite allowing just two hits over seven shutout innings against the Patriots.
The series finale also just had a bit of breaking news added to it. Former Duck Bryant Nelson, who was a part of the back-to-back championship teams in 2012 and 2013, has signed with the Riversharks today. The third baseman, who will serve as the DH this afternoon, had previously played with Camden back in 2009. Now, he will enter his ninth season in the Atlantic League and become the third player on the Riversharks that is a former Duck (T.J. Hose and Wynn Pelzer). Sure enough, he also arrives on the day where the first 1,500 fans will receive 15th Anniversary Team Card Sets, courtesy of AARP, and Nelson is one of the 15 members of the team as selected by the fans.
Here are today’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Riversharks: Today marks the third meeting of the season between the Ducks and Riversharks and the third of 10 meetings between the two at Bethpage Ballpark in 2014. Long Island and Camden have played 247 games against each other all-time, with the Riversharks holding a 129-118 advantage in the series and a 64-57 edge in Central Islip. The Ducks won the 2013 season series 11-9 and have won three of the past four season series.
Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford earned hits in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader to extend his on-base streak to a Ducks season-high 13 consecutive games. During the streak, Ford is batting .426 (23-for-54) with five doubles, one homer, 10 RBI, 13 runs and five walks. Ford recorded two hits in game one, tying him with Cody Puckett for the team lead with eight multi-hit games this season. During his on-base streak, he has raised his batting average from .185 to .364, which is good for third in the league.
Cody Keeps Hitting: Puckett also hit safely in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader to extend his hitting streak to a Ducks season-high 10 games. It’s also the third-longest hitting streak in the league this season. During the streak, he is batting .381 (16-for-42) with two doubles, six RBI and one run. He has raised his batting average from .237 to .316 in that span, good for eighth in the league.
Brodin Blasts One: Joash Brodin’s pinch hit three-run home run on Saturday was his third longball of the year. He is now tied for second on the team in homers, trailing Adam Bailey by one. Brodin has now gone deep in each of the last three games in which the Ducks have left the yard. The home run was Long Island’s 12th of the year and first since May 10 at Lancaster when Brodin hit a three-run blast as well, ending a streak of five consecutive games without a longball.
Countdown to 6 Million: Saturday’s crowd of 6,435 at Bethpage Ballpark marked the first past-capacity crowd of the season. It was also the 628th sellout all-time, which is an Atlantic League record. The crowd increased the all-time attendance at the Duck Pond to 5,978,371, which is also an Atlantic League record. Long Island is now just 21,629 fans away from reaching the magical 6 million fan mark. Today, the Ducks will help the Atlantic League celebrate welcoming its 30 millionth fan.
On the Air: Today’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks official YouTube channel, with live streaming video and audio available online by CLICKING HERE. The game can also be heard on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.
Finally, here are today’s lineups:
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – LF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#22 Joash Brodin – RF
#33 Ryan Strieby – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#15 Jon Myers – DH
#23 Brian Peacock – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#4 Zack MacPhee – LF
#8 Alex Hudak – CF
#10 Paddy Matera – 2B
#34 Bryant Nelson – DH
#2 Jorge Cortes – RF
#9 Wilson Batista – 3B
#14 Bryan Pounds – 1B
#5 Bobby Stevens – SS
#7 Mike Albaladejo – C
#12 Jay Voss – LHP
We’ll be updating this post throughout the day from Bethpage Ballpark, so be sure to refresh often.
UPDATE (1:52): A two-run home run from Alex Hudak in the first gives Camden the early 2-0 lead.
UPDATE (2:02): Ducks respond with a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Lew Ford. 2-1 Riversharks.
UPDATE (2:32): Camden adds four runs in the third, highlighted by a three-run double from Paddy Matera. 6-2 Riversharks, heading to the bottom of the 3rd
UPDATE (2:45): Ducks get an unearned run in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 6-2.
UPDATE (2:58): A two-run single from Paddy Matera extends the Riversharks lead to 8-2, heading to the bottom of the fourth.
UPDATE (3:13): LEWWW!!! Ford with a grand slam, and the Ducks are back within two!! Ford’s third homer of the year makes it an 8-6 game heading to the 5th!
UPDATE (3:54): Camden adds a pair of runs in the sixth on RBI base hits from Wilson Batista and Bryan Pounds. 10-6 Riversharks through six innings.
UPDATE (4:23): Moving to the bottom of the eighth, Camden still leads 10-6
UPDATE (4:39): Heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Ducks trail the Riversharks 10-6, looking for their second consecutive comeback victory.
UPDATE (4:47): Final: Ducks fall in series finale to the Camden Riversharks 10-6. Recap to follow shortly
Before we begin another round of voting for our 15th Anniversary Team, we want to make sure you heard the exciting news! The Ducks today announced the launch of a brand new official mobile app. Fans with Apple or Android devices can download the app for free, and it offers many unique features to stay up-to-date with all things Ducks baseball. CLICK HERE to check out what the app has to offer and find out how you can download it today. A big thank you also goes out to ClearVision Apps for creating the newest addition to the team’s increasing social presence.
Now it’s time to complete the infield for the 15th Anniversary Team. Last week’s voting was extremely close among the shortstops, with several lead changes taking place. With winter on the back nine, a debate over some of the best Ducks to man the ‘hot corner’ should help prepare fans for baseball season and warmer weather. This week, the four nominees for third base include a three-time Atlantic League champion, two prominent names who shared time at the position for two seasons, and one former Major Leaguer who resurrected his career on Long Island. Without any further adieu, here are your “Flock 15” third basemen nominees:
Bryant Nelson spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013), but his most memorable contributions have come in the past two seasons. The former Houston Astros draft pick was a main contributor to both the 2012 and 2013 Atlantic League championship teams on Long Island. In 2012, he hit .265 with 13 home runs and 80 runs batted in, good for ninth-best in the Atlantic League. Nelson’s signature moment that season came in the decisive Game Five of the Liberty Division Championship Series. Down 3-2 in the eighth and facing elimination, the switch-hitter launched a go-ahead two-run homer to lift the Flock into the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Arkansas native continued his success in an All-Star 2013 season with the Ducks, posting a .298 batting average along with 11 home runs and team-leading totals in RBI (71), hits (144) and doubles (30). Nelson’s biggest hits once again came in the postseason, as he picked up the game-winning single in Game Two of the Championship Series and the eventual championship-winning RBI with a fifth inning double in Game Five against Somerset. Overall, the veteran of eight Atlantic League seasons compiled 32 home runs, 197 RBI and a .274 average in 343 career games with the Ducks.
While Javier Colina may not have played in as many games with the Ducks as Nelson (176), the Venezuelan’s numbers speak for themselves. Colina played during parts of two seasons with Long Island (2010-11). The third baseman had made it as high as Triple-A in three different Major League organizations (Colorado, St. Louis, and Chicago [AL]) before coming to Long Island midway through the 2010 season. After starting the year with the Charlotte Knights (AAA, White Sox) of the International League, Colina hit .266 with seven home runs and 37 RBI over 67 games. Colina then spent the entire 2011 season on Long Island and had arguably one of the best seasons in Ducks history. He hit .309 over 109 games, with 25 home runs and team-highs in RBI with 90 and hits with 133. The performance earned him a trip to the Atlantic League All-Star Game, and he ultimately led the Ducks to the League Championship Series for the first time since 2004. Colina had the versatility of playing both shortstop and second base while he was on Long Island, but he spent the most time at the ‘hot corner’ and played admirably.
Colina was not the only notable infielder to man third base for the Ducks during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Matt Padgett also excelled there for the Flock and certainly deserves a nomination. Padgett played in 187 games over his two-year Ducks career, playing a bit of first base along with his primary duties at third. During his time on Long Island, the former fifth round draft pick of the Marlins hit .279 with 16 home runs and 110 RBI. The 2011 season was especially impressive, as Padgett hit .282 over 112 games, and finished second on the team with 24 doubles. The South Carolina native was especially impressive during the postseason where he batted .320 in eight games, picking up at least one hit in seven of those contests. His solo home run in the second inning of Game One in the Liberty Division Championship Series helped lift the Ducks to a 1-0 lead in a series they would eventually win in four games.
Prior to joining Long Island in 2001, Carlos Baerga had already been a 10-year Major League veteran, three-time All Star (1992-93, ‘95), and two-time Silver Slugger (1993-94). After spending 2000 out of baseball, Baerga started his road back to ‘The Show’ with Long Island in 2001. Although his time with the Ducks was short, Baerga was able to use the organization (and the Atlantic League) to help reignite his career. In 53 games that season, Baerga posted a .315 batting average, nine home runs, 44 RBI and three triples. These numbers earned Baerga a selection to play in the All-Star Game held in Newark, New Jersey. The Puerto Rico native also earned himself an opportunity to play in the Korean Baseball Organization where he would further impress Major League scouts. The following season, he became the first player in franchise history to make it back to the Major Leagues after playing on Long Island when he took the field for the Boston Red Sox. Baerga would go on to play 350 games with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Nationals over four seasons before retiring from the game in 2005.
So fans, which one of these nominees deserves to be named to the Ducks 15th Anniversary Team? Make your selection in the poll below and remember, if you feel that we missed a third baseman that deserves consideration, you can write in a candidate as well. The winner of this week of balloting will round out the infield for our “Flock 15” team. It’s up to you, the fans, to determine the next Ducks great to join this already impressive team. Next week, we move on to the outfielders!